Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Literary Arabic Is Expressed In Brain Of Arabic Speakers As A Second Language

Date:
November 5, 2009
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
Literary Arabic is expressed in the brain of an Arabic speaker as a second language and not as a mother tongue, according to a new study. The research offers an explanation for the objective and day-to-day difficulties that confront Arabic-speaking students when attempting to learn to read the non-spoken language.

Literary Arabic is expressed in the brain of an Arabic speaker as a second language and not as a mother tongue. This has been shown in a new study by Dr. Raphiq Ibrahim of the Edmond J. Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities at the University of Haifa's Department of Learning Disabilities.

"The cognitive disparity between the two languages is similar to the difference between a native and a second language. This offers an explanation for the objective and day-to-day difficulties that confront Arabic-speaking students when attempting to learn to read the non-spoken language," the researcher explains. The new study has been published in the Journal of Psychology Research and Behavior Management.

The Arabic language differentiates between the everyday spoken language, which has varying local dialects, and the written, literary Arabic (so called Modern Standard Arabic -- MSA), which is shared by all Arabic speakers and is learned in all schools alongside reading and writing. According to Dr. Ibrahim, data collected over the past few years examining the Arabic reading skills and comprehension of Arabic-speaking students in Israel and Arab countries have shown a lower level of proficiency compared to Hebrew-speaking counterparts in Hebrew and to other native speakers in their native languages.

One assumption has been that the difference between the languages influences the student's levels. The current research sought to examine the cognitive status of spoken Arabic versus MSA in the brain, by means of a priming technique: examining the effect of auditory presented words in one language on the cognitive processing of the same word in another language. In order to do so, the researcher compared the priming effects between MSA, spoken Arabic and Hebrew amongst native Arabic speakers who master the three languages.

The results have shown that the cognitive process in using MSA in a bilingual native Arabic speaker who is also fluent in Hebrew is more similar to that employed for Hebrew, which is a second language, and less similar to the cognitive process of using a mother tongue. As such, all Arabic speakers who are fluent in MSA are considered de facto bilinguals.

Dr. Ibrahim explains that "the results of this study indicate that linguistic structures of MSA that constitute the basis for reading acquisition are likely to be unfamiliar to the Arabic-speaking child when beginning to learn to read in first grade. This makes learning to read in Arabic a double mission, whereby children are expected to acquire in parallel an auditory linguistic system as well as a complex orthographic-visual language system."

He adds that this could have a negative effect on the development of reading skills and could compromise a pupil's achievements in the higher grades, especially for less skilled students. This new study also implies that MSA ought to be taught with techniques usually employed for the instruction of a second language. One such known technique, for example, is auditory exposure to a second language as early as preschool and kindergarten.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "Literary Arabic Is Expressed In Brain Of Arabic Speakers As A Second Language." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104091724.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2009, November 5). Literary Arabic Is Expressed In Brain Of Arabic Speakers As A Second Language. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104091724.htm
University of Haifa. "Literary Arabic Is Expressed In Brain Of Arabic Speakers As A Second Language." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091104091724.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins